The Riviera Maya is a world-class luxury resort and spa destination. Mayan traditions influence the region’s spas and treatments by incorporating ancient techniques and pre-Hispanic rituals such as the use of indigenous herbs, healing therapies and the temazcal, or traditional Mayan sweat lodge.
More of a cultural experience than a spa treatment, the temazcal ceremony is offered at numerous Riviera Maya resorts. Dating back to pre-Hispanic times, the temazcal is believed to have been used widely among the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures in Mexico. The name temazcal translates to “house of steam” in Nahuatl, the ancient language of the Aztecs.
The temazcal experience is believed to relax and cleanse the nervous system, help to eliminate fat and toxins and stimulate the digestive and respiratory systems. Before entering the temazcal, you may be asked to cover your body in mud, which helps with the purification process. The ceremony, led by a healer or shaman, takes place in a small brick and cement dwelling shaped like an igloo in complete darkness. The shaman places red-hot lava rocks in the center and douses them with water infused with local aromatic herbs and spices to create the steam. Once participants are seated inside, the shaman seals the entrance to keep in the heat and steam. He or she then leads guests through this fascinating and ancient ceremony that involves chanting and drinking herbal tea.
The Riviera Maya resorts also offer a variety of other personalized spa treatments including herbal body treatments, facials and healing deep tissue massage where you’ll be pampered in a lovely setting while taking in the aroma of fresh cut flowers and herbs indigenous to the region.
You can also enjoy a massage on the beach or down in a cenote (underwater sinkhole) beside the water, arguably one of the most unique spots in Mexico. The Riviera Maya is full of these underground caverns and freshwater pools that were sacred to the Maya.